Angora is a natural fiber produced by some breeds of rabbits. There is also an Angora goat, but it produces a fiber called Mohair. Angora fibers are spun into a very soft wool that is often used for clothing, but is particularly popular for baby blankets and in lady's dress scarves. Each hair is hollow, which makes it lighter than sheep's wool. Angora fiber is also used for felting. Angora wool is often blended with sheep's wool.
Although angora rabbits originated in Turkey, there are now many breeds of rabbits used to produce angora fiber, all require special care and regular brushing and will suffer with out proper care and grooming.
Popular Angora Rabbit Breeds
English Angora Rabbit
Pictured above is an ruby-eyed English angora. The English angora is small, usually under 7 pounds (3 kg). There are 2 varieties of English angora, white, and colored. The colored varieties come in many colors. The wool covers the entire rabbit, with the wool on its head being called “furnishings”.
French Angora Rabbit
The French angora is larger than the English, and its wool is a bit more coarse. They have normal fur on their ears, face, and ends of their feet.
Giant Angora Rabbit
The giant angora rabbit must be at least 9.5 pounds (4.5 kg). Giant angora rabbits are white with ruby eyes (albino) and are fully wooled, that is to say they even have wool on their faces, ears, and feet. Often thought of as the "classic" angora type.
Satin Angora Rabbit
The satin angora has hair shafts that are transparent, as such their wool has an unusual luster sheen to it. They can be white or colored. They originated by crossing a satin rabbit with a French angora.
German Angora Rabbit
The German angora is not recognized as a breed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, but are very popular. They look like the Giant Angora, with a greater range of size, and although most are white, other colors are accepted in the IAGARB, a registry specific for this breed.
Other breeds of rabbit that are somewhat woolly are the Jersey Woolly, and the Fuzzy Lop, as well as the Chinese Angora.
How Angora Rabbit Wool is Collected
Angora rabbits require special care. If neglected their wool starts to felt on its own, forming painful mats and tangles. As well their hair around their anus is prone to becoming dirty with feces, leave the rabbit particularly vulnerable for life threatening problems such as fly strike. They are also prone to a problem called “wool block” which is sort of the rabbit equivalent of a hairball in cats. As such angora rabbits are nearly always kept as indoor animals that receive daily attention, and weekly grooming.
The Angora rabbit's hair is often removed by hand plucking. Other methods of collection include shearing, and combing. Often times they are groomed (or hand plucked) weekly to keep their coat in good shape, and sheared every three or four months.
See Other Rabbit Breeds!